A notably colder forecast for the last week of October in the latest guidance helped send natural gas futures prices sharply higher in early trading Monday. The November Nymex contract was trading 7.7 cents higher at $2.291/MMBtu at around 8:30 a.m. ET.
Over the weekend, all weather models shifted colder for the 11-15 day outlook period, according to Bespoke Weather Services.
“This occurs as models appear to be bringing a wave of tropical forcing out toward the central Pacific, allowing a warmer ridge to develop in the West, sending a colder trough into the eastern half of the nation,” Bespoke said. “The bulk of the forcing hangs back over in the Indian Ocean, however, and without blocking in place, it is possible that this colder push is simply another transient one.”
Even with the colder trends over the weekend, gas-weighted degree day totals over the next 15 days are still on track to fall below normal, the forecaster said.
“We respect the model output but want to see more in order to be convinced that this is a fundamental shift in base state toward higher than normal demand, as opposed to just another window of variability,” Bespoke said.
Based on the latest forecast heading into Monday’s trading, EBW Analytics Group calculated an 18 Bcf increase in projected demand for its Week 3 outlook period, from Oct. 25-31.
“The durability of this rally will depend heavily on weather in Week 3 and beyond,” the EBW analysts said. “Current forecasts call for a return of Alaskan ridging near the end of the 15-day window, resulting in cooler-than-normal weather in Week 3. Other indications suggest, however, that this cooler weather could fade in Week 4, limiting the near-term price increase.”
Looking at balances, Lower 48 dry gas production averaged 92.1 Bcf/d over the weekend, according to Genscape Inc.’s estimate.
“This lifts the month-to-date average to 91.73 Bcf/d, about 1.1 Bcf/d below our forecast,” Genscape senior natural gas analyst Rick Margolin said. “Since the month opened, the bulk of the production growth continues to come from the Permian, the rest of Texas, Ohio and southwest Pennsylvania.
“Collectively, these and smaller growth rates from other areas across the country have been more than enough to offset nearly 0.37 Bcf/d of declines out of Northeast Pennsylvania.”
November crude oil futures were down about $1.17 at $53.53/bbl in early trading Monday, while November RBOB gasoline was down about 2.9 cents to $1.6100/gal.
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